Mixed repertory program - Spring 2013 MET season
Posted Today, 08:06 AM
As Natalya Petrovna in "A Month in the Country", Hee Seo was interestingly different from Julie Kent. Her acting is more innocent, spontaneous - less calculated. Her face and manner have a kind of transparency. While Julie Kent is a glamorous mature woman trying to recapture the youthful passion that passed her by, Hee Seo is a young woman married to an older man who is frustrated and acting out covertly. She is less the aggressor and more the victim of her own vulnerability and emotional needs. Julie was a bit more the cougar. Hee Seo has very fluid skimming bourrees, great speed and more flexibility in the upper body. It all looked effortless - though Julie danced with a certain gorgeous regal quality on Wednesday night. David Hallberg as the Tutor also seemed younger and more innocent - probably closer to Turgenev. His Beliaev is a naive, charming young man who also was a bit of a romantic dreamer. While Bolle seemed more a man of the world - aware of his own attractiveness - Hallberg was more bewildered about all the female desire he stirred up. Sarah Lane was more of a spitfire than Gemma Bond as Vera. Impulsive and quick-witted and with a temper when crossed. I felt that Hee Seo, Hallberg, Lane and Messmer all surpassed dancing wise the first night cast. Daniil Simkin is a stronger dancer than Arron Scott but he also kind of stuck out with his flamboyance. Scott seemed more part of the ensemble - not a star turn. Roddy Doble had strong stage presence as Rakitin and the chameleon-like Roman Zhurbin added another old-man impersonation to his many disguises.
"Symphony in C" starts out very badly but does get better as it goes along. As I said the orchestra is a problem and the corps lacks emsemble, speed, style and articulation. The first movement needs syncopation and the dancers need to dance off the beat at times and always anticipate the beat not drag behind it. Stella Abrera, infinitely better than the tired and dowdy Paloma Herrera, had the right attack, elegance and speed. But everything around her kept her from pulling the First Movement together. Semionova certainly looks gorgeous and has technique for days. With help from Gomes, she tied the steps together so it all looked seamless. I felt that Semionova had more flow than Part but less involvement - it was a touch cold and proficient. Osipova and Vasiliev did have the speed, buoyancy and attack needed but kept themselves within Balanchine's framework. They maintained a sense of style and you could see not the virtuoso whiz kids but elegant classicists who disciplined their physical ability to the music and choreography. Simone Messmer's whiplash pirouettes in the finale showed that she could keep up with any principal in the company - she is a fantastic dancer with power that ABT has not seen fit to fully utilize. Abrera, Osipova, Messmer and definitely in her dancing Semionova all had a great "Symphony in C" within them but the framework surrounding and supporting them was too unsteady.
Posted Today, 08:22 AM
Posted Today, 08:29 AM
Posted Today, 11:04 AM
We could all make a long list of ABT dancers who deserve to be promoted but haven't been. Among them I would include Joseph Gorak, Jared Matthews, Stella Abrera, and Sarah Lane. I don't know the corps dancers well enough to identify the standouts, but Luciana Paris comes immediately to mind.
Posted Today, 11:06 AM
Actually, Farrell was one of the KennCen honorees a few years ago. Her troupe danced the finale of Divertiment no. 15 on the telecast.
Posted Today, 11:44 AM
First of all, it was an absolute pleasure to see Joey Gorak in "Drink to Me with Thine Eyes Only" again! For me, he is absolute joy to watch. Everything is so easy, so fluid, and so beautiful! I totally agree that he should be promoted ASAP!
I'm not sure if I was just feeling more awake the second time around, or if I knew what to expect, but I actually enjoyed the second cast more. But I still don't feel like I need to see this piece again.
2) A Month in the Country
Hee Seo's dancing was absolutely gorgeous! I'm glad I saw her second, otherwise Julie Kent's perfunctory execution of the steps would've really paled in comparison!
Her acting was fine--the only scene that felt less-than-believable was when she slapped Vera. I thought Kent showed the right mix of jealousy followed by instant motherly remorse in that scene.
Hallberg's dancing was also lovely. Personally, I preferred Gemma Bond's characterization of Vera--her anguish after being caught with Beliaev, and then her anger when she discovers Beliaev & Natalia were more fleshed-out, and she definitely made me laugh.
3) Symphony in C
I've only seen NYCB perform "Symphony in C" once (in February), and I honestly can't remember a single thing about it, so I (luckily) was not disappointed with the ABT version.
In fact, I thought last night's performance was fantastic! I loved, loved, loved Stella Abrera--totally confident, crisp, and beautiful. I also love Eric Tamm, though he didn't have quite the same amount of ease as James Whiteside, in my opinion.
I do agree that the first movement did seem to drag a little bit, but it did get better as it went on! I thought Marcelo Gomes & Polina Semionova were absolutely exquisite in the adagio. FINALLY I could relax and enjoy. Like canbelto, I did notice that Semionova didn't hit the 180 degree penchees. That is something I have noticed in other works as well--she has good extensions, but definitely not the highest ones. (I'm not sure if that is more of a stylistic choice rather than a physical limitation though, because I've definitely seen her stretch against the wall past 180 degrees in the studio.)
Osipova and Vasiliev were exciting in the third movement, but I was slightly disturbed by the way Osipova made sure to hit the 180 degree penchee, no matter how sloppy it was on the way there. (As my ballet teacher always says, it's not about the movement, it's how you get there...)
In the final movement, I thought Jared Matthews looked great. Simone Messmer was fine, but she didn't seem 100% confident to me.
Even so, thanks to that gorgeous adagio and thrilling third movement, I really enjoyed the whole performance.
Posted Today, 12:47 PM
Symphony in C. As a big fan of this ballet and NYCB, I went in with interest and high hopes, especially since I read good things about the performance at the gala. I left disgusted. I found it sloppy and unfocused, lacking the energy, precision, angularity, musicality, and attack that NYCB brings. Polina Semionova was seamless in the adagio, but she had a cheerful smile on her face some of the time, totally at odds with the grandeur and solemnity of this movement. (Someone mentioned seeing Maria Kowroski in the audience and wondering what she thought: I hope she realized that she has nothing to fear from the empty Polina Semionova). Much as I admire Marcelo Gomes in virtually anything and everything, he seemed so wrong in this movement. In the third movement, Osipova and Vasiliev brought a welcome jolt of energy and vitality to the stage, although that only underlined the lack of overall cohesion, as they seemed to be dancing in a different piece from everyone else. Also Osipova was mugging for the audience, which I found disrespectful of the ballet, as if she can't submit herself to being a piece of something larger. The only positives were seeing some lovely ABT dancers including Stella Abrera. Also I hadn't seen Jared Matthews in some time, and was surprised to see him looking more confident and polished than I remembered.
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